SYDNEY - Injured Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will be entrusted to make the final call on whether he plays in State of Origin II.
The Manly playmaker is racing the clock to overcome a knee complaint and will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness in what Maroons captain Cameron Smith admits is a huge gamble.
Cherry-Evans' understudy Ben Hunt — who has played just 13 games as Broncos No.7 — is in line to make his Origin debut in a game Queensland must win to keep their dream of nine straight series wins alive.
Smith was quietly confident Billy Slater (shoulder) and Greg Inglis (ankle) had done enough to play Origin II but said Cherry-Evans would not be assessed until their final session today.
"It is a gamble but Daly has been present at all of our sessions, he's been watching on," Smith said of their approach.
"It's pretty late but that's the situation we are in.
"No one is panicking. Everyone is pretty relaxed about it."
Smith backed Cherry-Evans to make the right call, just like backrower Sam Thaiday who pulled out of game one with a calf complaint.
"(Coach) Mal (Meninga) has been really good with guys carrying injuries," Smith said.
"It has been left up to the player to make the decision. Ultimately they know if they will right to play.
"We saw in game one Sammy Thaiday withdrew knowing he would not be able to fulfil his role."
Smith said Hunt — who had only stepped up as Broncos No.7 this year after acting as a bench utility — to was capable of filling Cherry-Evans' shoes if needed.
Hunt has spent the last week training at halfback at Queensland's Gold Coast camp with Cherry-Evans either looking on or being restricted to running drills.
"Ben has trained extremely well. We would like to see DCE there but if he's not available I am sure Ben will do a good job for us," Smith said.